New Student Orientation Guide

Even useful to old students!

The York College Honors Program
New Student Orientation Sheet

The York College Honors Program’s goals are to expose York College’s best students to an interdisciplinary approach to learning and support our students as they become independent scholars.

Honors Program Academic Curriculum

One semesters of Humanities 320: Honors Seminar.  This interdisciplinary course changes topics and instructors each semester.

Three Honors Supplemental Courses – H Courses.  H-courses are courses from the York curriculum.  Before the course begins, you contract with the course instructor to complete the classes’ normal objectives but in a way which makes the course an “honors-level course.”

  • One way in which normal courses are converted to H-courses is by adding extra work with meets the course's normal objectives.  For example, the honors student will do a longer term paper, or read another text and do an associated assignment.
  • The preferred way in which a normal course is converted to an H-course is by changing an assignment to make it more challenging (without adding more work).  For example, instead of conducting library research and writing a review paper (as the normal class did), an honors student will conduct the research but then be graded by teaching a class on the subject.  The student and faculty member would meet to discuss the research and discuss presentational and pedagogical strategies.  The student would be graded on the content of the presentation and quality of teaching techniques used.
  • It is recommended that the student and instructor meet outside of class on a regular basis to discuss the additional work (as in an independent study).
  • Only full-time faculty members can supervise an H-Course.
  • Although not mandatory it is recommended that you use your H-Courses to begin your thesis work.
  • Example:
Psy 333: Black Psychology
Psy 332: Social Psychology

H-Course work includes reading several books on race and self-esteem and writing a response paper for each.



H-Course work includes writing an extra research paper on current research on persuasive messages and African-American audiences.


Media’s influences on African-American     Self-Esteem

Honors Thesis

  • The honors thesis must contain evidence that the student thought independently about the material.  The honors thesis is neither a simple book report nor a literature review. The honors student is supervised by their thesis mentor.  The honors student is not working under the close direction of the thesis mentor.
  • The honors thesis must be patterned after the master’s thesis (or an equivalent-level master’s project) in the given discipline.  The honors thesis should not be as difficult as such a project.  The honors thesis must be significantly greater in scope and/or scale than a senior-level term project in the discipline.  The key term is significantly.  An honors thesis is not slightly greater in scope and scale than a term paper.


  • The honors student must take six hours of independent research with their thesis mentor across two semesters.

      Non-Academic Honors Events

      All Honors Program students are required to attend:

      • One scholarly event per semester
      • One cultural event per semester and
      • Mandatory HP meetings.

      Each semester, a student is required to submit to the Honors Program office an events form.


      • Your 1st year mentor will be assigned to you.  They will help you plan your first year in the program and help you find a thesis mentor.
      • Your thesis mentor will supervise your honors thesis.
      • If your research interests change, then you can change your mentor.  No big deal.


      • Last day of the semester: turn in to the HP office your semester activity report

      Thesis deadlines

      • End of 3rd semester before graduation: Thesis Mentor signs Thesis Registration Form
      • Beginning of 2nd semester before graduation: Select faculty to serve on Thesis Committee
      • At least by the 5th week of 2nd semester before graduation;Thesis committee members sign Thesis Proposal Form
      • Submit Thesis to committee one week before defense.
      • 2-4 weeks before last day of classes: Defense before thesis committee
      • 2 weeks before last day of classes: Thesis committee decision to Honors Program Office
      Forms are on the HP webpage!